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  1. We develop provably efficient reinforcement learning algorithms for two-player zero-sum finite-horizon Markov games with simultaneous moves. To incorporate function approximation, we consider a family of Markov games where the reward function and transition kernel possess a linear structure. Both the offline and online settings of the problems are considered. In the offline setting, we control both players and aim to find the Nash equilibrium by minimizing the duality gap. In the online setting, we control a single player playing against an arbitrary opponent and aim to minimize the regret. For both settings, we propose an optimistic variant of the least-squares minimax value iteration algorithm. We show that our algorithm is computationally efficient and provably achieves an [Formula: see text] upper bound on the duality gap and regret, where d is the linear dimension, H the horizon and T the total number of timesteps. Our results do not require additional assumptions on the sampling model. Our setting requires overcoming several new challenges that are absent in Markov decision processes or turn-based Markov games. In particular, to achieve optimism with simultaneous moves, we construct both upper and lower confidence bounds of the value function, and then compute the optimistic policy by solvingmore »a general-sum matrix game with these bounds as the payoff matrices. As finding the Nash equilibrium of a general-sum game is computationally hard, our algorithm instead solves for a coarse correlated equilibrium (CCE), which can be obtained efficiently. To our best knowledge, such a CCE-based scheme for optimism has not appeared in the literature and might be of interest in its own right.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 29, 2023
  2. We consider the problem of estimating the discrete clustering structures under the sub-Gaussian mixture model. Our main results establish a hidden integrality property of a semidefinite programming (SDP) relaxation for this problem: while the optimal solution to the SDP is not integer-valued in general, its estimation error can be upper bounded by that of an idealized integer program. The error of the integer program, and hence that of the SDP, are further shown to decay exponentially in the signal-to-noise ratio. In addition, we show that the SDP relaxation is robust under the semirandom setting in which an adversary can modify the data generated from the mixture model. In particular, we generalize the hidden integrality property to the semirandom model and thereby show that SDP achieves the optimal error bound in this setting. These results together highlight the “global-to-local” mechanism that drives the performance of the SDP relaxation. To the best of our knowledge, our result is the first exponentially decaying error bound for convex relaxations of mixture models. A corollary of our results shows that in certain regimes, the SDP solutions are in fact integral and exact. More generally, our results establish sufficient conditions for the SDP to correctly recovermore »the cluster memberships of [Formula: see text] fraction of the points for any [Formula: see text]. As a special case, we show that under the [Formula: see text]-dimensional stochastic ball model, SDP achieves nontrivial (sometimes exact) recovery when the center separation is as small as [Formula: see text], which improves upon previous exact recovery results that require constant separation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 29, 2023